ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — A group of voters in Williamson County are pushing back against Prop A in Round Rock ISD which would change the district’s tax rate and raise teacher pay.
According to the RRISD’s website, Prop A is a Voter-Approved Tax Ratification Election (VATRE). The district said the tax rate change would not raise voter’s property taxes, but allow more pennies generated by property tax to remain in the district instead of being recaptured by the state.
RRISD said if approved, the change would allow the district to retain $19 million while giving teachers a 6% pay increase.
Recently, Moms for Liberty of Williamson County expressed their opposition to the VATRE.
Christie Slape, chair of the group, said the district should have redistributed funds used for administrator salaries instead of asking for this VATRE.
“If that means that our very bloated administration needs to reduce their pay, or they need to cut some staff positions to give the classroom teachers the funding that they need in order to have a decent salary, then we support that,” Slape said.
RRISD Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez said the choice is ultimately in the hands of voters come this November, however with little help from the state to boost funding for schools – he said options are limited.
“The reason school districts are struggling now is because there was no increase in the basic allotment or extra funding. We use every method we can find to help provide pay raises to teachers, but we are in a point that we can’t anymore,” Azaiez said.
This heavily-scrutinized election comes one year after a contentious RRISD school board race. In 2022, a slate of conservative candidates ran for several trustee spots, Slape among them as well.
Brian Smith, professor of political science at St. Edward’s University, said smaller local races such as this have garnered more attention now than in years past for several reasons.
“What we’ve seen is just hyper partisanship across all elections and schools are now just the latest front in that battleground. And also people have realized, with increased taxes, people want more oversight. As people are paying more in property taxes, they have more of an interest in seeing where that money goes,” Smith said.